Grey Vs Used. Am I missing something?

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#1
I was going to post this on the thread currently running about the prices of new and second hand gear being somewhat out of sync. However, I didn't want to take that thread off topic and had a few other questions I was hoping could be answered.

So I was this week just about to pull the trigger on an upgrade to my Nikon D3300. I had pretty much made up my mind to do a trade-in exchange with MPB on a D7200 at approx. £ 550, with around a hundred squid back for the 3300. However, a recent posting on another thread on this site highlighted to me that I can buy a brand new D7500 from E-infinity for £589.

Now, I know it's grey and all that but really? Just an extra forty quid for not only a brand new camera, without an eleventy thousand shutter count, scuffs, missing cap/box/strap/charger..... but also an updated model too? Am I missing something here or could there be any other pitfalls with buying from E-infinity that I am unaware? Given that I'm usually of the opinion that prices settle around what the market will bear, then I'm wondering how MPB manage to shift many second hand units when the cost for (grey) brand new seems only just a smidge dearer.

Is grey that risky that buying second hand (even accounting for limited S/H warrenty) is still attractive?
 
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#2
I've purchased nearly all my gear from panamoz and "touch wood", everything has been fine, email trails telling me exactly when its arriving, 2-4 day to my door and so on.

People are worried of "grey" imports as "the price is to cheap, must be a snag" but my personal experience has been great.

you'll also get the "grey" brigade round soon about Uk tax and depriving the economy and illegal importing, it's your money, it's your choice and you take any chances "if there are any) im not sure about E-infinity, but an email to panozoz stating all Import duties are paid and if you do incur any they will refund and to be fair they have always reduced the price for me andd said they will credit my account after the order has gone through and each time i had money in my account within hours of placing the order.

Don't get me wrong, id love to buy from a shop here but take the 70-200 FL, one sold here second hand for £1500 odd (can't remember the exact figure) Panamoz done me a brand new one for £1650 ( i think) locally around £2450, sorry but that's just silly extra.
 
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#3
I bought my 80D body grey from HDEW. The warranty is longer than the UK Canon warranty (3 years vs 1 year) and the camera is the same as one bought via a UK retailer. Now there are all sorts of ethical questions regarding tax, VAT evasion etc but my thinking is there must be a loophole somewhere that allows these grey import sites to be legal. There are too many of them and they are too easily found on the internet for most of them to be anything dodgy. That said I have read some shocking stories of E-infinity customer service. Try Panamoz or HDEW as more reputable grey market sellers
 
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#4
you'll also get the "grey" brigade round soon about Uk tax and depriving the economy and illegal importing
If there is a loophole in the law then fair play to companies for exploiting it. If it's depriving the exchequer of that much cash then the government has the power to close the loophole. No problem with it at all in my view.
 
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#7
If there is a loophole in the law then fair play to companies for exploiting it. If it's depriving the exchequer of that much cash then the government has the power to close the loophole. No problem with it at all in my view.
I'll bite. The 'Loophole' has nothing to do with the companies - it's the individual buying that's exploiting it (and evading VAT / duty in the process).

If getting gear as cheap as possible is the ultimate goal, just go nick it off some poor sod. There's bugger all difference to my mind.
 
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#8
Have to echo the comments above - I bought my D750 from Panamoz and it was a great buying experience.

Not only do I get a 3 year warranty, but it's transferable to the next owner when I sell. Nikon UK don't allow their warranty to be transferred, so a 1-day old second-hand UK-sourced camera will have no warranty, whereas a 30-month old Panamoz camera will still have 6 months warranty left on it...
 
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#9
For those who don't wish to risk a criminal record, the HMRC position is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad

HMRC have gone on record in the past as saying if you knew or appeared to know you were defrauding them they will seriously consider putting you in front of a magistrate.
 
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#10
For those who don't wish to risk a criminal record, the HMRC position is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad

HMRC have gone on record in the past as saying if you knew or appeared to know you were defrauding them they will seriously consider putting you in front of a magistrate.
In the real world I doubt they will drag you to court over buying a £500 camera!
 
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#11
If there is a loophole in the law then fair play to companies for exploiting it. If it's depriving the exchequer of that much cash then the government has the power to close the loophole. No problem with it at all in my view.
i agree, if it's such an issue, get closer to the grey prices and i pretty much guarantee, most if not all would prefer to buy from a reputable Uk dealer.
 
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#12
It astounds me as well, but some buyers still prefer to keep their purchases U.K. based regardless of the savings to be had.
Some buyers still like to handle any goods they wish to purchase, which is fine and I believe it is rude to handle the goods in one place and purchase elsewhere, the U.K. based shops are doing the best they can to keep trading but are stifled by the manufacturers restrictive pricing, import duties and taxes and the cost of a physical store.
I love to support U.K. retailers but we are not talking £5, £10 or even £50 difference here, it is quite common to save 40-50%.
I was a little sceptical at first, but it has allowed me to buy more gear than shopping in the U.K.
My last purchase was a lens, it was cheaper buying a new grey import than a used U.K. one, the import comes with a one year warranty the used one (private sale) comes with nothing.
Even buying a used one from the U.K. you could be buying a grey import.......
The only winner sometimes is the fact you can trade in used gear locally or nationwide in the U.K. but you are usually better off selling privately, then the purchaser might opt for a grey import instead because it’s cheaper.........food for thought.
 
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#13
For those who don't wish to risk a criminal record, the HMRC position is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad

HMRC have gone on record in the past as saying if you knew or appeared to know you were defrauding them they will seriously consider putting you in front of a magistrate.
It not illegal or a criminal, we don't know anything illegal is happening, the T&C's from panomoz states


"10. Will I have to pay any import taxes and duties?

You will not have to pay any. Our prices are all-inclusive. All import and customs charges will be covered by us fully, and will be billed to our shipping account directly. You will not be billed."

that's no different than buying from a Uk seller and "assuming" all duties have been paid.
 
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#14
I'll bite. The 'Loophole' has nothing to do with the companies - it's the individual buying that's exploiting it (and evading VAT / duty in the process).
Ah yes the perrenial grey vs official stuff descends as normal into calling all purchasers crims.

The bottom line is that there is more than one route that grey product gets from factory to consumer. And the fact that something is grey doesn't necessarily mean that duty and taxes have not been paid. And not all grey goods are cheaper because of taxes and duty because manufacturers and/or their distributers play their own games by seting different prices in different markets. Pricing also isn't just about what something costs to make and adding a margin - manufacturers and distributors may try and hit price points depending on numeric prices to bump up or down margins to hit that '99.99' or whatever.

If you're buying blatantly mis-declared goods from the other side of the world then yes - you're dishonestly gaming the system.

On the other hand if you buy cheaper goods that are duty and tax paid then you are not.

If getting gear as cheap as possible is the ultimate goal, just go nick it off some poor sod. There's bugger all difference to my mind.
I guess on that simplistic measure you'd then categorise those buying heavily discounted lenses or bodies that have been split from UK kits that way as well?

I presume you don't look for cheapest insurance, energy, broadband, and how terrible if you buy an advanced off peak rail fare (or worse still combine it with a rail card)!:)
 
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#15
It astounds me as well, but some buyers still prefer to keep their purchases U.K. based regardless of the savings to be had.
Some buyers still like to handle any goods they wish to purchase, which is fine and I believe it is rude to handle the goods in one place and purchase elsewhere, the U.K. based shops are doing the best they can to keep trading but are stifled by the manufacturers restrictive pricing, import duties and taxes and the cost of a physical store.
I love to support U.K. retailers but we are not talking £5, £10 or even £50 difference here, it is quite common to save 40-50%.
I was a little sceptical at first, but it has allowed me to buy more gear than shopping in the U.K.
My last purchase was a lens, it was cheaper buying a new grey import than a used U.K. one, the import comes with a one year warranty the used one (private sale) comes with nothing.
Even buying a used one from the U.K. you could be buying a grey import.......
The only winner sometimes is the fact you can trade in used gear locally or nationwide in the U.K. but you are usually better off selling privately, then the purchaser might opt for a grey import instead because it’s cheaper.........food for thought.
you are correct, i got my 200-500 from uk shop, only because they had a double deal on used gear, so gave me £280, instead of £140, privately worth around £180, the whole deal was around £50 dearer than grey, (without VAT) but I'm happy with that to buy UK.
 
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#16
It astounds me as well, but some buyers still prefer to keep their purchases U.K. based regardless of the savings to be had.
Some buyers still like to handle any goods they wish to purchase, which is fine and I believe it is rude to handle the goods in one place and purchase elsewhere, the U.K. based shops are doing the best they can to keep trading but are stifled by the manufacturers restrictive pricing, import duties and taxes and the cost of a physical store.
I love to support U.K. retailers but we are not talking £5, £10 or even £50 difference here, it is quite common to save 40-50%.
I was a little sceptical at first, but it has allowed me to buy more gear than shopping in the U.K.
My last purchase was a lens, it was cheaper buying a new grey import than a used U.K. one, the import comes with a one year warranty the used one (private sale) comes with nothing.
Even buying a used one from the U.K. you could be buying a grey import.......
The only winner sometimes is the fact you can trade in used gear locally or nationwide in the U.K. but you are usually better off selling privately, then the purchaser might opt for a grey import instead because it’s cheaper.........food for thought.
Of course, you are factoring in the VAT and Duty? The stuff you are obligated to declare and pay when it arrives?
Ah yes the perrenial grey vs official stuff descends as normal into calling all purchasers crims.

The bottom line is that there is more than one route that grey product gets from factory to consumer. And the fact that something is grey doesn't necessarily mean that duty and taxes have not been paid. And not all grey goods are cheaper because of taxes and duty because manufacturers and/or their distributers play their own games by seting different prices in different markets. Pricing also isn't just about what something costs to make and adding a margin - manufacturers and distributors may try and hit price points depending on numeric prices to bump up or down margins to hit that '99.99' or whatever.

If you're buying blatantly mis-declared goods from the other side of the world then yes - you're dishonestly gaming the system.

On the other hand if you buy cheaper goods that are duty and tax paid then you are not.



I guess on that simplistic measure you'd then categorise those buying heavily discounted lenses or bodies that have been split from UK kits that way as well?

I presume you don't look for cheapest insurance, energy, broadband, and how terrible if you buy an advanced off peak rail fare (or worse still combine it with a rail card)!:)
I agree 'grey' is the wrong term here.

I'm just talking about those that evade VAT and Import duty as set by the Government of the land we inhabit and enshrined in law. That's illegal.

Not using kit as per the originators suggestion (be it splitting kits etc or splitting rail journeys) is not illegal and please fill your boots.
 
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#18
I read somewhere that when we gave Hong Kong back to China some sort of deal allows HK based companies to supply on this basis. Sounds a bit far fetched. Anyone know if this is true?
 
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#19
It not illegal or a criminal, we don't know anything illegal is happening, the T&C's from panomoz states


"10. Will I have to pay any import taxes and duties?

You will not have to pay any. Our prices are all-inclusive. All import and customs charges will be covered by us fully, and will be billed to our shipping account directly. You will not be billed."

that's no different than buying from a Uk seller and "assuming" all duties have been paid.
Except it's well known that not what happens unless things have changed?

If anyone can show a Panamoz or similar declaration label that accurately describes the content and the value of the shipment, I'd be happy to re-evaluate my position - I really would.

The onus remains on the individual (ie you) when importing goods from outside the EU to ensure the VAT and Duties are paid. ANO HK Importer is commiting no crime in mis-labelling - they are acting as your agent, and you're the one at fault for not ensuring the declaration is accurate. All they are doing is paying the VAT and penalty if they get caught.

All this is known. It p***es me off that so many people here drop their pants so readily at the thought of a cheap bargain and stuff the law. Like I said, if you really want it cheap and illegal, just go nick one. It's the same. Better still - file a few false claims for benefits for your long dead uncle Ned and aunt Doris, and buy using that cash if you want to buy a few more lenses - just as long as your okay Jim.
 
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#20
i agree, if it's such an issue, get closer to the grey prices and i pretty much guarantee, most if not all would prefer to buy from a reputable Uk dealer.
They would also need to get closer to the same warranty - there's no reason to supply a 1-year non-transferable warranty when the greys can do 3-years transferable.

the U.K. based shops are doing the best they can to keep trading but are stifled by the manufacturers restrictive pricing, import duties and taxes and the cost of a physical store.
Sorry, but they are businesses and exist to make money. If their current business model doesn't work, then they need to move to one which does.

If anyone can show a Panamoz or similar declaration label that accurately describes the content and the value of the shipment, I'd be happy to re-evaluate my position - I really would.
Isn't that the job of HMRC, or is the proportion of my taxes spent on them also wasted?
 
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#21
Isn't that the job of HMRC, or is the proportion of my taxes spent on them also wasted?
On what planet would it be the job of HMRC to fill out customs declarations? Unless want them to open and value every single parcel? That's going to cost you more taxes, which by the way, you (theoretically at least) would pay less of if other people and companies didn't evade tax.

They do spot checks - they are the ones that get the extra bills (with penalty).
 
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#22
On what planet would it be the job of HMRC to fill out customs declarations?
None - but it is their job to ensure that the declarations on imported goods match the contents. If you want to confirm your allegations that Panamoz are complicit in import tax evasion by fraudulently misreporting their declarations, then I'd suggest you make your suspicions (along with the evidence you have gathered) known to HMRC, rather than asking a bunch of strangers on an internet forum.
 
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#23
They do spot checks - they are the ones that get the extra bills (with penalty).
You'd think they would pretty much have photographic stuff nailed on this if there's enough coming in from certain parts of the world and being consistently misdeclared.

It's not always clear to a prospective purchaser whether the taxes and duty are or are not being paid on direct imports. And some grey suppliers seem to import into EU and then supply on to the UK.

As far as accessories are concerned then I suspect that some Chinese and HK traders using Amazon or Ebay in the UK are creating small companies and then trading up to the VAT threshold. This wouldn't mean avoiding VAT on the imports - but would mean not being liable to VAT on the margin. If you reach the VAT threshold in any trading period you simply create and register another company and supply via that.
 
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#24
In the real world I doubt they will drag you to court over buying a £500 camera!
As things stand at the moment that may be true but if we jump out of the EU they may find it profitable to toughen their stance. The current rules mean that £500 camera might (in theory) get you 6 months in the pokey and/or a £20,000 fine. They'd have to prove you did it deliberately but anyone who's watched a bit of daytime telly will know that they're getting very canny about searching forums and such like for evidence. This very thread might drop you right in it!

Would they go after you personally? I very much doubt it. Would they go after the company that sold you the camera? They very well might if they decided they could build a case. If they succeeded then going after the customers would be a nice little earner and the first the customers would know would be the demand for payment of the VAT and Duty plus a substantial penalty payment.

But if you don't feel like playing the game fairly with your fellow citizens then that's your choice.
 
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#25
I would imagine they struggle with staffing levels, following the Austerity Cuts.
 
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#26
None - but it is their job to ensure that the declarations on imported goods match the contents. If you want to confirm your allegations that Panamoz are complicit in import tax evasion by fraudulently misreporting their declarations, then I'd suggest you make your suspicions (along with the evidence you have gathered) known to HMRC, rather than asking a bunch of strangers on an internet forum.
And I say again, the obligation sits with the importer not the supplier. HMRC has no power over HK based companies. That’s why the importer (is the one who clicks ‘buy’ on the shopping basket) is the one who’s acting illegal if they fail to ensure the declaration is correct and appropriately pay VAT and duty.

Besides, based on my understanding, I’ve already formed a view and act accordingly - I don’t use them - I don’t need ‘strangers on an Internet forum’ to re-enforce that. My question was a genuine one - if goods are being correctly declared, and some evidence to support that is visible, I’m willing to challenge my current perception - perhaps things have changed.
 
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#27
If you were able to view the customs entries, those companies mentioned export an awful lot of toys valued at <£36 and no photographic equipment.
This is exactly what they are doing, no question. You'll notice that they send from a UK address, but you don't get a VAT receipt. Well, someone, somewhere is paying VAT - they must be. I asked a grey firm for a VAT receipt and was told that they import from outside of the EU, so do not need to give me one. But the item came from a UK address, and when I returned part of the order it went to a UK address. You cannot despatch VAT-rated goods from inside the UK, even if ordered from abroad, without paying VAT somewhere. I am not sure there is a 'loophole' - my feeling is that they are shipping and under-declaring them, as well as working in a grey area by handling the items when they land, but not supplying VAT info.

I just got a VAT receipt from HDEW. I reckon they buy from similar Hong Kong distributors to those E-infinity etc. buy from. You are getting grey hardware, but you're also paying VAT. Far preferable.

I just got a new phone off Ebay. The listing said firm is VAT-registered in the UK (yet address says HK). I am going to ask for a VAT receipt now. If I get one, then it will suggest that the Ebay phone people are following the law, whereas the grey firms who tell you there is no VAT, yet despatch within the UK, are either breaking the law, or operating within a grey legal area. I suspect that the phone importers have a lot more surveillance than niche importers, i.e. prime lenses and pro bodies. This might explain why they claim I'll get a VAT receipt, but E-inf doesn't offer one.

This situation isn't going to carry on forever. I think most of them will have to set up UK operations, a-la HDEW.
 
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#28
And I say again, the obligation sits with the importer not the supplier. HMRC has no power over HK based companies.
That’s why the importer (is the one who clicks ‘buy’ on the shopping basket) is the one who’s acting illegal if they fail to ensure the declaration is correct and appropriately pay VAT and duty.
As an aside.

That would mean anybody could send you an unsolicited import with a misdeclaration and it would be your fault.

You can't ensure that the declaration being made by a third party is correct.
 
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#29
>And I say again, the obligation sits with the importer not the supplier

Indeed. But if they have a middleman intercepting the orders, then that person becomes the importer, not you - and you are protected. This is why I think Andrew is correct. I don't think they are being as blatant as labelling the cameras as barbie dolls; more like plain old under-declaring.

If your items are coming directly from HK and they are under-declared, then it's your responsibility to contact HMRC and pay the correct duty. You will get done for neglecting that.
 
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#30
>You can't ensure that the declaration being made by a third party is correct

No, but you're obliged to contact HMRC and correct it if they get it wrong. Technically, they could try and prove you knew the real value but didn't do anything about it.
 
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#31
As said above, from Hdew I got a camera delivered from a UK address and with a VAT receipt. They also have a physical shop you can visit.

I guess some are working outside of the law, but there are some that are not being governed by the manufacturers pricing policies but not breaking any laws.
 
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#32
Without getting into the moral argument having the same moral stance as a sewer rat I have bought grey on numerous occasions and had no issues. I have also purchased from MPB WEX when I consider the equipment is what I want and at a fair price. Photography as a hobby is and can be expensive and therefore I try my best to make my money stretch further by seeking out what I consider good value.

As an example, I recently bought through E BAY Currys shop a new UK sourced Sigma 150-600 C for £599. why it was being sold along with 15 others Canon fit only who knows at this price.
 
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#33
Wow. Such a lot of replies in such a short time.

I’m still baffled though:

MPB : Used D7200 £ 549
E-infin : New D7500 £ 589

The prices are so close for two items that would seemingly be quite wide apart. It’s like a brand new, out-the-packet £20,000 motor sitting next to a three-year-old, previous model, fifty thousand miler priced at £19,500. It seems that these grey import prices are not, for some reason, forcing down the second hand market. I must admit, I find it odd. Perhaps, there are enough people with high-minded principles towards out purchase taxes that the greys are not simply winning out every time.

I must admit, I am tempted.
 
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#34
Wow. Such a lot of replies in such a short time.

I’m still baffled though:

MPB : Used D7200 £ 549
E-infin : New D7500 £ 589

The prices are so close for two items that would seemingly be quite wide apart. It’s like a brand new, out-the-packet £20,000 motor sitting next to a three-year-old, previous model, fifty thousand miler priced at £19,500. It seems that these grey import prices are not, for some reason, forcing down the second-hand market. I must admit, I find it odd. Perhaps, there are enough people with high-minded principles towards out purchase taxes that the greys are not simply winning out every time.

I must admit, I am tempted.
yes, its your money buddy, you do with ever you feel is right.

All i can vouch for is panomoz have been nothing but perfect for the few things I've purchased. this is not a right or wrong post, just a review of them to assist, but do check the warranty if buying from abroad, so are slightly cheaper but only offer a 1-year limited warranty, other others offer a 3 year all-inclusive (I've not had to use it so i can't vouch for anything more)
 
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#35
It not illegal or a criminal, we don't know anything illegal is happening, the T&C's from panomoz states
No you're misunderstanding the situation, the issue here is taxes are being evaded, it's the responsibility of the person importing to make sure the appropriate taxes are paid not the individual who sends it.

The whole deal with Panamoz is most of their stuff gets past customs without being caught, on the few that do get caught they pay up but otherwise it falls into what's described above.

I do a bit of importing myself, to be clear the issue isn't that grey imports are bad, they're not. Once you've paid the appropriate taxes it's as legal as anything else you'll find on the high street, the issue is when no one has paid the appropriate taxes, if there's any problems later you would be the one found at fault even if the odds of that happening are vanishingly small.
 
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#37
I see it all the time on here, USED gear selling for more than new grey from e-infinity with 12 month warranty.

Some of that stuff is grey also lol, so the seller made a profit after probably using the 12 month warranty themselves and using it for a year.

Its a buyer beware situation and it is up to individuals to be clued on to these people.
 
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#38
No you're misunderstanding the situation, the issue here is taxes are being evaded, it's the responsibility of the person importing to make sure the appropriate taxes are paid not the individual who sends it.

The whole deal with Panamoz is most of their stuff gets past customs without being caught, on the few that do get caught they pay up but otherwise, it falls into what's described above.

I do a bit of importing myself, to be clear the issue isn't that grey imports are bad, they're not. Once you've paid the appropriate taxes it's as legal as anything else you'll find on the high street, the issue is when no one has paid the appropriate taxes, if there's any problems later you would be the one found at fault even if the odds of that happening are vanishingly small.
i fully understand this, but i also look at there price plus import tax/vat etc and it still comes out quite a bit under Uk store/supplier costs, im not debating the rights or wrongs, we all live our life and choose how we do that.

but it does seem like price-fixing for the Uk marker, for Uk prices to be so much higher than imported price even if you factor in taxes.
 
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#39
i fully understand this, but i also look at there price plus import tax/vat etc and it still comes out quite a bit under Uk store/supplier costs, im not debating the rights or wrongs, we all live our life and choose how we do that.
As ever when this subject comes up I'm not really interested in someone's justification or trying to get them to match my own beliefs on the matter, I just want to make it clear that they properly understand what they're doing and most of the time people always assume it's down to the exporter rather than the importer.

but it does seem like price-fixing for the Uk marker, for Uk prices to be so much higher than imported price even if you factor in taxes.
I'm reasonably certain that isn't the case, most retailers are struggling because they're making tiny margins on this gear. The way I normally check this is just looking at prices overseas, convert the currency, remove 20% for VAT and if the price is comparable we're not really being taken advantage of.

There are some exceptions, I recall ranting about the A73 when it launched as it was about £150-200 more than some other places but it's not that common of an occurrence.
 
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#40
They'd have to prove you did it deliberately but anyone who's watched a bit of daytime telly will know that they're getting very canny about searching forums and such like for evidence. This very thread might drop you right in it!
It always amazes me how many are willing to incriminate themselves on this forum by saying they’ve done it, what they bought and how much they saved vs UK high street price! Talk about making it easy for HMRC if they do eventually decide to act!

The grey vs used vs UK high street debate is always a divisive discussion :popcorn:
 
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